PHNOM PENH, July 15 (FN) — Cambodia's construction sector has seen a big jump in investment projects in the first five months of 2016, the Phnom Penh Post reported on Friday, citing government figures.

Data obtained from the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction shows 990 construction projects valued at over 6.5 billion U.S. dollars were approved during the January- May period this year, compared with 2,305 projects worth 3.3 billion U.S. dollars approved during the whole of 2015.

Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction Minister Chea Sophara attributed the surge in the value of approved construction projects to two main factors: investor confidence in Cambodia attracting more big developers, and his team carrying out a government directive to improve the speed and quality of services.

"Based on the government's new policy, we must provide good service to those investors who submit full details of their projects and specifics on their plans and investments," he was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Sophara said among the biggest projects approved this year were the Shangri-La Hotel, a 300-room luxury hotel to crown Oxley Gem's 580 million U.S. dollars mixed-use The Peak project in the capital' s Tonle Bassac district, as well as a separate 78-storey hotel development.

Cambodian construction laws stipulate that developers must commence construction on their projects within two years of receiving a permit. According to Sophara, at least one major developer, South Korea's Booyoung Group, has already had its permit revoked this year after failing to make headway on its project.